Friday, May 29, 2015

My European Beauty Haul!

I just came back from a week long trip to Paris.  Friends have told me to visit the pharmacy when I'm in Paris for deep discounts on beauty products.  When I hear "pharmacy," I immediately think of CVS or Walgreens.  The "pharmacie" in France is far from your typical CVS though.  It's full of high quality beauty products such as Caudalíe, Vishy and La Roche-Posay, not to mention, they are about 50% of the prices you'd find here in the United States for those exact same products.  Needless to say, I went a bit crazy.

In the next few weeks, I'll be doing reviews on some of the items I try.  For now, I'm very excited to try the Bioderma Créaline H20, which is micellar water for removing makeup.  You can't find it here in the United States as easily, and if you do (most likely on Amazon), it's about triple the price.  I'm also super excited to try the Caudalíe Eau de Beauté spray, which is a part-toner and part-serum mix of essential oils.  

I've wanted to buy the Caudalíe products at Sephora before, but they were extremely expensive.  For example, the "newly released" Instant Detox Mask goes for $39.00 USD at Sephora, but at the pharmacy in France, you can get the same thing for 16,89€, which is about $18.50 USD - that is significant savings!

I also spent a weekend in London, and got a chance to visit the famous Boots drug store.  I went to the flagship store on Oxford Street, which was more of a three story heaven of makeup products versus a drug store.  The first floor was dedicated to makeup with drugstore and high end makeup products available.  The second floor had your typical drugstore items such as medication, toothpaste, etc.  The basement contained British body products and hair care items.  I really had to control myself in this store.  I had to consistently remind myself that 1£ = $1.50 USD!

I stocked up on some Soap & Glory items, since they seemed to have discontinued them at Sephora here in the US, not to mention that they are still cheaper in the UK than in a Sephora store in the US.  I've been wanting to try the Sleek eye shadow palette for a while now, as well as the Bourjois CC cream.  I picked up the Garnier micellar water to compare it to the Bioderma.  I predict we'll see the Garnier one here in the US sooner than we'll see Bioderma, so if it's the same, that would be a great alternative.

In the next few weeks, I will be posting more reviews on the makeup and beauty products from these hauls.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ciaté Makeup Review

As part of my Sephora haul last week, I decided to buy a bunch of new makeup products by Ciaté London.  Traditionally a nail polish brand, Ciaté has now gone into the makeup market.  I've never tried their nail varnishes either, so decided to pick up one of the recently launched Liquid Chalk paint pots in the color Wanderlust.

After trying out all the products, I now know why they named some of the line "Chalk," which are all a bit matte in nature.  The finish of the nail polish was semi-matte.  It was a very pretty finish and something so unique that you really can't wear a shiny or matte top coat over it.  The shiny would destroy the semi-matte finish and the matte top coat would be too dull.  Wanderlust is also a gorgeous light lilac color that's great for spring!

Nail Chalk in "Wanderlust"

I bought the Lip Chalk in two colors (Berry-Go-Round and Instaglam).  These are matte lipsticks that are, surprisingly, not drying to the lips.  A lot of matte lipsticks out there feel really tight to wear, but these don't.  I also really enjoyed the "crayon" shape of the lip chalks, which made them easy to apply.  My only beef with these are the colors.  The Berry-Go-Round goes on much brighter than what it looks like in the tube.  I felt like it was a Barbie pink, but apparently, they have another shade "Fine and Candy," in which they describe is Barbie pink.  The Instaglam color was a bit too nude on me, so it was hard to see.  Instaglam is supposed to be a warm terracotta, but maybe on my tanned skin, it just blended too well!

The next thing I tried was the new blush pop.  I got the color "Darling," which is a peachy shimmer.  I just swiped this cream blush over my cheeks and blended it with my fingers.  The application was smooth and the product blended nicely.  The color did last all day, so this was a great buy.  One thing I don't like about the blush pop is the scent.  It smells a bit like "play makeup" for kids.  Might just be me, but it reminded me of stuff I used to try on as a kid.

The Skinny Shadow Stick was absolutely amazing.  I bought the "Underground" color, which is a dark aubergine and it has all the eyeshadow pigments packed in the lid.  There's a built in sponge applicator that you can use to either sweep along the lash line or brush over the entire lid.  The eye shadow stayed on all day and was still there after 12-hours of wear.  The box says that you can get over 100 applications with one tube, so I hope that's the case.

The last item I tried was a bit disappointing, but it's not completely the product's fault.  The Lip & Mix Pigment (in Covet) is supposed to work with the Lip & Mix Glitz Grip Sealer as a base "glue."  Unfortunately, I didn't read instructions and failed to purchase the grip sealer.  The lip pigment is definitely highly pigmented and stayed on for a good part of the day over my usual lipstick.  However, I'll need to actually purchase the grip sealer to see if this product does what it says, which is give you a textured shimmer look.

All in all, these products were good.  I probably wouldn't buy anything again except for the skinny shadow stick and the nail polish.  I think there are better cream blushers out there and I have so many other lip products that I prefer over the lip chalks.  Have you tried Ciaté's makeup products?  If so, let me know what you think and if there is anything else I should try!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"No Makeup" Makeup!

There are days when I just don't want to go through the entire makeup routine, especially on weekends!  On these days, however, I don't necessarily want to leave the house bare faced either.  These are times when I utilize my "no makeup" makeup routine.  This is what I use for my "no makeup" days:

I start off with a tinted moisturizer with SPF as a base.  I love the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Bisque.  It's hydrating but not greasy at the same time.  After the tinted moisturizer, I use my favorite Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (this one is in the shade Ginger) to cover up any remaining blemishes or spots.  I don't use any brushes with the tinted moisturizer or concealer, just my fingers... application is nice and fast!  Next, I use a powder to reduce any leftover shine on my t-zone.  If you have drier skin, you can skip this step.  Here, I use the BareMinerals Touch Up Veil in Light.  Normally, I would use a translucent powder, but today, I want slightly more coverage.

I don't use any eye makeup on my "no makeup" days since I feel that if I'm going to spend time doing my eyes, I might as well go through the entire routine.  For this routine, I just finish off with a light blush of my choice.  Today I'm using the Milani Powder Blush in tea rose, which gives my cheeks a little bit of color, but nothing noticeable.  I top it off with my favorite lip gloss, Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector, which basically highlights your natural lip colors.

There are five items here, but this takes all of 5 minutes to put on!  It's super easy and fast.  Now I'm ready for my weekend!

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 2015 Stitch Fix Review

It's that time of month again for my Stitch Fix!  It's literally becoming a fix now.  If I don't get one, I feel like I'm missing something!  This month, I requested the Market & Spruce Carina Striped Dolman top, after seeing it on one of the Stitch Fix blogs.  Otherwise, no other special instructions for my stylist, Karen, this month!

This month's box was, again, very "spring."  I was incredibly delighted when I opened the box since all of the pieces looked awesome.  What I got this month:

  • Kalie Denim Jacket by Mavi
  • Brixon Ivy Cutout Detail Blouse
  • Lolinda French Terry Embroidered Lace Top by Sanctuary
  • Hanneli Polka Dot Swing Skirt by Pixley
  • Market & Spruce Corina Striped Dolman Top
Let's see what these look like on!

Item #1: Sanctuary Lolinda French Terry Embroidered Lace Top.  My initial reaction of this item when I took it out of the box was that it was weird looking.  The back of the shirt looks almost like a sweatshirt material and the front is lacy.  I thought it would look strange on, but this is actually super comfortable and flattering.  It would make a casual "nice" shirt that I could wear on Fridays.

Verdict: Keeping!  This is pricey at $88, but I think I would get my money's worth out of this one!  I checked out Sanctuary clothing prices online and it seems inline with the rest of the line.

Item #2: Brixon Ivy Cutout Detail Blouse at $58.  I'm not a fan of this coral color.  I've tried so many pieces in this color hoping that it'll grow on me, and I realize this is a very "in" color right now, but I don't think it flatters my skin tone.  The flutter sleeves also don't look good on me.  

Verdict:  Returning for sure!

Item #3: Hanneli Polka Dot Swing Skirt by Pixley.  I really like this skirt and think it looks great on!  Unfortunately, it is just slightly tight on me at the waist and I'm going to have to send it back.  It's too bad, because I really like this one and it was reasonably priced at $54!  Maybe I'll request it again next month in a larger size if I'm still thinking about it by then!

Verdict:  Sadly, returning!

Item #4: Market & Spruce Carina Striped Dolman Top.  I requested this top after seeing it on one of Stitch Fix's blog posts, hoping to be able to wear this with the teal Margaret M Emer pants I got last month.  Low and behold, I love this sweater.  I didn't take a picture of it here, but it also looks great with the teal pants!

Verdict: Definitely keeping and at $48 this was one of the more affordable items in the fix.

Item #5: Kalie Denim Jacket by Mavi at $98.  I love the color of this jacket... and wish that all the other previous denim jackets I've been sent were in this color.  Unfortunately, this jacket is way too small on me and I look ridiculous, hence, there's no photo of me in it.  It's also has a shorter waist, which I didn't like.  

Verdict: Returning.

Final Verdict:  I'm giving this fix a 4 out of 5.  I really liked all the items this month.  If the skirt and jackets would have fit, I might have kept all the items, even the coral blouse, to get the "buy 5 discount" of 25% off.  These were all pieces that were very practical, everyday items.  I can't wait to see what summer items I start getting next month in June!  Summer would be the perfect time for you to try out Stitch Fix as well!